There are local resources available to help
Editor’s note: The following letter was submitted by the Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center to raise awareness about the issue of sexual assault/violence in Plumas County. It’s a composite of a typical victim. In 2017, there were 69 reports of rapes and sexual assaults in Plumas County, and we think this letter is the perfect mechanism to raise awareness of the issue and let residents know there is help available.
I never thought it could happen to me, but last year I was raped in Plumas County.
The perpetrator was someone I knew and trusted — a friend of the family’s.
I’d like to think that I’m a smart person and that something like this could “never happen to me.” But I was manipulated into a situation where I became vulnerable and unsafe. I couldn’t believe that this trusted family friend would take advantage of me like this! I couldn’t believe that this could happen to someone like me! I mean, I wasn’t drinking or using drugs, I wasn’t wearing suggestive clothing, I wasn’t acting all crazy-like and coming on to this perpetrator. I was just being me — a very nice person minding my own business!
And then it happened — I got attacked.
Afterwards, I didn’t know what to do, so I was silent. I didn’t report what had happened to anyone for many different reasons:
I was concerned that no one would believe me, that I’d get into trouble for “lying.”
I was in fear of retaliation by the perpetrator. I might get hurt even more.
I didn’t trust anyone in authority. This [foolishly] included law enforcement. I thought I’d get into more trouble.
I saw how my peers shamed others who “got in trouble” this way. I didn’t want to be made fun of or bullied.
I started to get real depressed, even started thinking about killing myself (suicide). I just didn’t know what to do, who to trust, or where to turn.
Unfortunately, I was not alone. I learned that I was not “an isolated incident.”
Here are some other things that I’ve learned since the attack on me:
In the calendar year of 2016, Plumas County recorded 39 survivors of sexual assault/violence. What is sexual assault/violence? It’s any type of unwanted sexual contact. Period.
Anyone can experience sexual assault/violence: children (little boys and girls), teens, adults, even seniors.
Doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor or the classes in between. Professionals, laborers, those folks who go to their jobs and all those who are unemployed can all be victims of sexual assault/violence.
Veterans have experienced sexual assault/violence. You know, those “tough” men and women who defend our country? Well, they’re not immune from this.
Really, no one is.
So how did I learn about all these things? I found a flyer in my favorite restaurant’s bathroom that said I could contact a local rape crisis center to get help. I could talk with someone who listened to me, who cared and who could support me while I walked through this “process.” I learned that my healing would be an ongoing thing, that everyone heals in their own time and in their own way. That I have the choice to move — or not move — forward with the criminal justice system. But, basically, I have choice.
The rape crisis center worked with me to connect with other types of help that I needed. They seemed to work well with a lot of other agencies in town! That gave me the confidence to move ahead with taking steps to heal. I got help with my thoughts of suicide. I took some trainings that gave me understanding about what happened. I even wanted to “give back” by helping others who could find themselves in my situation.
Because of the help I received, I am now a survivor. Thank you for reading.
To learn more about our local rape crisis centers and upcoming annual Crisis Line/Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault training, contact Plumas Crisis Intervention & Resource Center by calling 283-5515, or visit pcirc.com.
To join our local Suicide Prevention Working Group, contact Tiffiney Lozano at 283-0202 ext. 239 or email [email protected].